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Taxpayer Assistance and Simplification Act of 2008

Location: Washington, DC

TAXPAYER ASSISTANCE AND SIMPLIFICATION ACT OF 2008 -- (House of Representatives - April 15, 2008)


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Madam Speaker, why are we here? We're here because it's Tax Day and the majority decided they had to have a tax bill to come to the floor to pass on Tax Day.

There are some good provisions in this bill. I want to talk about one provision that is not a good provision. That's what we call HSA substantiation. What that basically means is without a single hearing, the majority wants to bring these new red-taped complicated rules to health savings accounts so that every time somebody goes and makes a health care purchase that's under the deductible, they have to first get permission from their banker or from the government before they do it. That's essentially what substantiation does.

Now, we've heard from banks, from the credit unions, from the NFIB and the small businesses. They're all saying, we're not going to do it anymore. We're not going to offer HSAs to our clients.

Madam Speaker, the key with health savings accounts is that people can save tax free for their out-of-pocket health care savings. Why on earth would we want to bring a bill to the floor which we know will reduce the use of health savings accounts?

The goal of this Congress ought to be to make health care more accessible and more affordable. Unfortunately, this bill goes in the wrong direction. So we want to inflict all of this red tape that we don't inflict on individual retirement accounts or on home equity lines of credits on this, and this will make it harder for people to save tax free for health care. It will tie them up in red tape. It will say to the banks and credit unions that offer these things, don't offer them anymore, and more to the point, we're doing this clumsy legislating without having had one hearing in the Ways and Means Committee.

More to the point, Madam Speaker, is this. The market is already fulfilling the need to have better recordkeeping. The market is already showing us they can do this without this law. But if you impose this law, as this bill does, guess what's going to happen? People in rural America, people in some small towns, people in Janesville, Wisconsin, they won't be able to subscribe to this law. Their retailers don't have the technology that's being required here. So you're going to leave rural America, small town America out, and only urban areas can comply with this.

This is not good legislating. This has not been seen through. No foresight. No hearings. More to the point, it's going to make it harder for people in rural and small towns to save tax tree for health care. It's going to make it harder for anybody to save tax free for health care. This is going to raise health care costs, and it is going to make it harder for patients to really get control of their health care destiny.

And that is why this bill should be defeated. For this piece of policy alone, this bill should be defeated because it was not thought through. It was slammed in there at the last minute, and that is enough of a reason that on this day, on Tax Day, we should not be telling the American people, we're going to raise your taxes if you want to go buy health care. That's wrong, but that's what this bill does; and I think we should reject this bill for that reason alone.


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